Flower Flies: new field guide! May 2, 2019, Ottawa Entomology Club

April 6, 2019

Ottawa Entomology Club: Flower flies: new field guide!

Dr. Jeff Skevington CNC, AAFC

When: Thursday, May 2, 2019, 7:30pm (note change in date)

Where: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa

Come see an illustrated talk by Dr. Jeff Skevington

Jeff’s talk will introduce this amazing group of pollinator flies and will discuss the production of the new field guide for our fauna. Flower flies are abundant in both cultivated and natural ecosystems but are often overlooked as many are excellent mimics of bees and wasps. They are common in our gardens and many of our species are easy to identify once you know what to look for. Although most adult flower flies are pollinators, larval flower flies have many lifestyles. Some species are predators of aphids and other soft-bodied insect pests in our gardens, others are plant feeders, some live as predators or parasitoids in insect nests and many filter feed bacteria from sap or rotting material.

Jeff recently co-authored a book entitled, “Field Guide to the Flower Flies of Northeastern North America” (with Michelle Locke, Andrew Young, Kevin Moran, Bill Crins and Steve Marshall). The book is available for pre-order for about $32 CAD at Chapters, Amazon and other book stores and is expected out by May 7th. Jeff will bring a couple of copies to show and will give away a copy during the evening. Send digital copies of your flower fly photos to Jeff (jhskevington@gmail.com) before the meeting or bring copies to the meeting on a memory stick (please include date and location photographed). We will all look through the images after the talk. Best photo, best syrphid story or best question of the evening will vie for the free book. You can even bring a few flower fly specimens to show off or look up. Jeff will bring a microscope and some specimens down to the room before the meeting. The co-authors worked together for 10 years to assemble this book: the first comprehensive field guide to any group of flies for a large area in North America.

If you aren’t familiar with flower flies, this meeting is a well-timed introduction. Not only will the field guide be out soon, but 2019’s first flower flies should be flying by the time of the meeting. Take a closer look at those pollinators on your flowers. If they have two wings (and usually short antennae), they are likely flower flies rather than bees.